Monday, December 19, 2011
I challenge you to find a better horror movie than this. This was about the 6th time that I have seen this movie and everything that happens in the movie is still terrifying even after multiple viewings. This is the movie that cemented Ridley Scott's legacy in the genres of both horror and science fiction. The movie also has an All-Star cast consisting of Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, and Veronica Cartwright. This movie is single handedly responsible for creating the movie genre of science fiction/horror and is still its finest example. This is in the top 10 of my favorite movies of all time and there are not a lot of movies that will be worthy of replacing it.
Alien tells the story of a commercial towing crew transporting a refinery back to Earth. During their trip they are awakened from their hyper sleep and are told to investigate a beacon. A massive spaceship is found that is housing thousands of leathery eggs and one of the crew members, Kane, is attacked. An alien life form attaches itself to his face and the crew debates what to do with him. Dallas, the Captain, and Ripley, the second-in-command, have differing opinions of what to do. Ripley wants to quarantine the subject in hyper sleep whereas Dallas wants to remove the creature from Kane's face. Before either can act, the life form separates itself from Kane and dies. Kane is then seen to be acting normal for several hours but then during a meal an Alien bursts from his chest starting a chain reaction that leads to a majority of the movie's events. What follows is a brutal "game" of cat and mouse between the crew and the Alien.
This is one of the first movies to actually feature a realistic female heroine in a horror movie. She does not need to be helped or protected by her male coworkers. Ripley has become the prototype which all other female heroines are measured and none are really as good as the original. She has her moments where she is close to breaking down but then sucks it up and keeps her head in the game. She makes difficult choices and the story would have played out much differently had the Captain listened to her in the first place. She is a very levelheaded character in that she is trying to follow her protocols to the best of her ability and then when they breakdown and the situation becomes more dire then she is able to adapt to the situation and tries her best to make the right decisions. She seems to be one of the few characters in the movie with any common sense, along with Parker. The Captain seems to throw caution to the wind at a point and gets himself isolated in a duct with the Alien. Others freeze at the sight of the Alien and are unable or too afraid to act. Parker's death is no fault of his own but due to the non-action of another character who is paralyzed by fear. Ripley is a very realistic and well rounded character and there are small things that signify this throughout the course of the film. Such things as her finding her cat and trying to protect it from danger to the fact that as second-in-command she has to work harder for respect from the crew. Another thing that struck me was how they filmmakers handled her reactions when she comes face to face with the Alien in the escape pod. You can see this panic on her face but at the same time you can see her analyzing the situation, trying to come up with the best way to get out of danger. She is one of the best character in cinematic history, male or female. She is a personal favorite of mine and is the main character in two of my favorite movies of all time.
I could go on and on about this movie but I generally try and keep these reviews to a decent length. This along with Aliens and Blade Runner comprise three of my top ten movies of all time and are the top three science fiction movies of all time in my honest opinion. I have not seen another movie that can match the tension and terror that this movie is able to bring to the screen. This is also one of the movies that has ever given me a nightmare, so you know it is an effective horror movie. This movie deserves to be seen by everyone of the appropriate age and is a true cinematic classic. A perfect 10/10.
P.S.- This movie also has one of the greatest posters of all time.